Top Budget Smartphones of 2017 Reviewed!

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Asus Zenfone Zoom S

Successor to last year’s ZenFone Zoom, the ZenFone Zoom S uses an aluminum alloy body with a sandblasted matte surface. The edges and corners are rounded, and it has polished antenna lines. The front features a 2.5D glass with contoured edges finished with a coat of Corning Gorilla Glass 5. With its 7.99mm thin profile and 170g weight, the phone feels light and sleek much like Huawei’s P10 Plus, and has a comfortable grip. However, the width of the ZenFone Zoom S requires you to utilize both thumbs to comfortably operate it.

On this device, you’ll find a vibrant and bright 5.5-inch Full HD AMOLED display. It exhibited warmer colors, though had no issues rendering minute details, such as highlights and mild differences in hues.

The current iteration of the ZenUI is more palatable with ASUS toning down the juvenile-looking gradients in stock apps. Other features include its USB Type-C port (at USB 2.0 speeds) that has reversed charging at 1.0A. The fingerprint sensor located at the rear worked rather swiftly, instantly registering our finger once it met the sensor. Do note that the ZenFone Zoom S has no NFC support though. The phone’s headlining feature is its dual 12-megapixel rear camera setup. The main camera uses a Sony IMX362 sensor, while the accompanying zoom camera uses a Samsung 3M3 sensor with a five-element lens fixed at a 59mm focal length (35mm equivalent). The latter is used for the 2.3x optical zoom effect compared to the primary camera lens. The phone’s software automatically decides when it should trigger the Zoom Camera, which we found more likely to happen when you set the camera’s Focus Mode to Continuous Auto Focus.

On its own, the ZenFone Zoom S holds itself together just fine as it marks the base level expectations from the phone’s design, feel, handling and general performance for a Snapdragon 625-powered device and good imaging out of the Main Camera. However fierce competition (even from their own product line) takes away any glint that the ZenFone Zoom S has to offer.


Oneplus 5

Besides a top-end processing platform, OnePlus 5 catches up to real flagships by off ering up its very first dual rear camera configuration, an AMOLED display (with DCI-P3 color space support), and UFS 2.1 storage in a 2-lane configuration. With its price tag, it’s quite a bargain, too.

You’ll find a 5.5-inch Full HD AMOLED display sprawled across the front. Color temperature on the OnePlus 5 seems very well-balanced, with great screen detail, sharpness, and vibrancy thanks to the nature of AMOLED screens.

The OnePlus 5 comes with its own Android reskin, OxygenOS 4.5, which sees some improvement for ease of use. For instance, older devices stuck to stock Android menus for some essential apps (like Settings and drop- down Notifications), which resulted in a design mismatch with the rest of the UI. OxygenOS 4.5 also features a built-in Reading Mode, which dials down blue light on the display while converting text and images to greyscale, giving it a sepia tone effect.

The OnePlus 5 is the first OnePlus phone to have a dual rear cameras setup. The primary rear camera has a Sony IMX398 sensor with 16-megapixels resolution. The secondary rear camera is a Sony IMX350 sensor with 20-megapixels resolution. The phone shoots sharp images with vibrant hues and accurate colors, but loses some detail due to aggressive noise control. Image quality is unusual for the high-quality sensors beneath both lenses, and OnePlus will need to work hard to get their imaging software right. There’s also In-Depth mode, which primarily provides digitized bokeh that helps to add a little flair to portrait photos. From our trials, the bokeh effect from In-Depth mode isn’t as refined as Huawei’s bokeh control before photo-taking, but it does the job if you give the phone sufficient distance to get the OnePlus 5 to work its magic.

The extra touches help the OnePlus 5 compete with the titans of this tier, but it somewhat misses the mark on other fronts that hurt its overall standing against true flagships above the $1,000 grade.